When the senior members of our editorial office began their careers in journalism, the predominant medium was primarily paper publications. To address a specific problem, you had to submit requests, call the secretary, and then contact the editor. Now, a new option has become available – accessibility. The editorial staff has received many tools for communicating with the community. With the development of discussions and round tables, we can now freely communicate directly with public organizations, authorities, and readers at events, in real-time mode. We are immensely happy with this option and decided to use it to solve the issue of IDP integration.
Surveys and round tables as problem solving tools

The topic of evacuation is quite personal to us because, to be honest, the site manager had to go through it herself. Therefore, there is an understanding of the challenges displaced people face, the journey they must take from experiencing a rather stressful event in life when only memories and photos on Google Drive connect them with the past, to realizing the importance of the community where the present is being reshaped. Therefore, the issue of integration is relevant and we decided to make a small project where we would help people with the status of IDPs.

During the preparation of the project, while communicating with IDPs and psychologists from charitable organizations, we discovered that there is an increasing number of requests for integration, job search, and self-realization.

Training arranged by All-Ukrainian Initiative “Active Community” in cooperation with Drohobych City Center for Social Services
Credit: Drohobych.City

Therefore, we decided to arrange an employment training with All-Ukrainian Initiative “Active Community” Because, in our opinion, all problems are only solved when we work together. Therefore, to enhance the productivity of the meeting, we utilized the accessibility option – conducting a survey among people with IDP status, asking them specifically about the challenges they face in finding a job. Subsequently, we addressed the problems mentioned in the responses during the round table. With nearly 15 years of journalistic experience, we can affirm that this format of meetings, combined with the preparation survey, has proven to be the most effective. And our colleagues will understand: you don’t need three-hour dictaphone recordings to extract as much text as possible for a single page. Everything was said clearly and to the point. After the meeting, even our co-organizers were surprised to discover opportunities they hadn’t heard of, despite living in the community for a long time. It is already known that several people have applied for employment, and two more plan to use assistance in writing a business plan for grants. Also during the meetings, the displaced persons spoke about their readiness to create a council of IDPs to join the integration, the solution of pressing issues, and the development of the community. After all, passivity and time play against development and progress, which will be very important in the post-war period. It is worth noting that the process of creating the council has already begun.

Expert help against stigmatization: how we worked in the workshop of non-conflict communication

Additionally, the website’s journalist, as a media professional, occasionally encountered stigmatization of IDPs or not quite correct treatment in the information space. For individuals under stress, this is quite traumatic because ignorance of the new community, along with unfamiliar traditions and rules different from the East and South, does not contribute to integration. Stigmatization does not promote trust and openness, creating a vicious circle. Therefore, utilizing the round table format, along with media and communication professionals, displaced persons developed a dictionary of conflict communication. So, this time no one was interviewed, but they collected correct and incorrect statements that were found in the information space. This is how we collectively generated an informational recommendation product that is already being used. We were really worried that people with IDP status would be bored at our event or they would feel uncomfortable. But thanks to balanced moderation, the opposite occurred: wrapped in blankets and holding warm tea, participants engaged in informal communication, discussing the differences and similarities of cultures from different regions and addressing the stereotypes that persist in our minds. And then the participants thanked for a useful meeting.

We also discussed the importance of integration at the meeting
Credit: Drohobych.City
Here is what our audience told us

Also, using surveys, we generally asked the audience what confuses them and what they would like to improve and solve. Questionnaires on Google Forms were shared across various groups and channels. The items in the questionnaires divided the topics into areas: medicine, education, landscaping, and social assistance. We received more than 120 responses, which mainly contain information about the lack of doctors, insufficient provision of schools and kindergartens, and problems with landscaping. We are currently working on finding information or solutions to pressing issues. Therefore, offline communication with the audience and experts, along with questionnaires and surveys, in our opinion, constitutes one of the best tools for addressing societal issues and identifying those that editorial journalists may not have paid attention to or encountered.

This publication was created with the support of the European Union. The content is the sole responsibility of the Ukrainian Media Business Association and does not necessarily reflect the position of the European Union, whose financial support made the project possible.